December 21, 2020

The costs of having a baby: Your Ultimate Guide to help you decide if you´re ready


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Do you want to know how much it will cost you to have a baby because you´re trying to decide on whether or not it is the right time for you and your partner?

Then continue on reading…

We´ve struggled with this question as well…

The challenge we faced? We both felt emotionally ready, but… we had no clarity on how much having a baby would cost on a monthly basis - if we could even afford to have a baby…?

Feeling financially unprepared and the idea of having a baby created a terrifying imagination of our future - where pregnancy and life after birth would be a struggle - burying ourselves in debt, turning all the emotional readiness into tremendous stress.

Not only did this idea cause a lot of hesitation in having a baby, but also kicked off the need to gain clarity on the costs of having a baby, if we were to have a child anytime soon… which led to the next stumbling block…

TREMENDOUS overwhelmmm.

When thinking of the costs of having a baby, as we soon learned - there's just so much to think of and pay attention to... 

With a lot of time and energy invested, and the great resources we found, we´ve put together our findings in this guide to help you gain the financial clarity you are seeking so you and your partner can come to a clear decision on whether or not it is the right time for you to have a baby.

The Structure of this Guide:

To break this overwhelming subject down, we have structured the information in a way that will help you to develop a figure of the monthly budget you will want to plan for your individual situation, preferences and circumstances.

As we found, there are various costs from the time of pregnancy to the first year of a child’s life that you may want to take into consideration.

We have split step 2 in this guide into the following 3 sections:

  • Budgeting for pregnancy
  • Budgeting for delivery
  • Budgeting after birth

The Outcome of this Guide:

Our goal by the end of this guide is to help you have developed a ballpark figure - an estimate of what your monthly available budget should be if you decide to have a baby.

Once you´ve worked through this guide you will feel A LOT MORE certain on whether or not you and your partner are financially ready to have a child.


The information gathered on average costs in this guide are based on living in the United States. When living in the U.S. you will also want to pay close attention to what your health insurance will cover, as we will be mentioning points to look out for below.

Step 1 - Define your financial framework for decision making

Before moving on to learn about the expenses that come with having a baby, take a moment to talk about your financial needs/musts/wants with each other.

This step is crucial as it helps you consider all financial areas of your life and supports you to set a foundational agreement regarding your finances that you can always come back to and base your decisions on.

Our financial guidelines for having a child became the following:

Example of financial terms and conditions for having a baby

  • No financial struggle and debt creation because of having a baby.
  • One of us will stay at home with the baby.
  • No decrease in standard of living (still being able to afford same quality of food and home)
  • Being able to afford all current living expenses.
  • Being able to afford life insurance.
  • Being able to afford health insurance for the family.
  • Being able to afford all expenses of having a baby.
  • Being able to afford creating an education fund.
  • Being able to afford giving to charity.
  • Being able to afford investing.
  • Being able to afford treating ourselves every month.
  • Being able to afford saving a certain amount every month.
  • Being able to afford a second vehicle with automatic transmission.

Example of financial sacrifices for having a baby

  • No vacations, perhaps short weekend trips.
  • Sacrificing one area of expense with less priority to make another one work.

Example of financial goals in relation to starting a family

Just as well as setting your terms and conditions and deciding on what you´re willing to sacrifice it also makes sense to talk about your financial goals in relation to starting your family after having a child so you can anticipate the development in that direction and plan for the future:

  • Grow income level and create financial stability to afford all the above with a 2nd child.
  • Afford to increase space of living (2BR to 3BR).
  • Afford additional expenses of a 2nd child.

Your Action Step: Set Up Your Own Financial Framework.

Set up your own financial guidelines for decision making by answering the following 3 questions:

  • What are your set of financial terms and conditions for having a baby?
  • What financial sacrifices are you willing to make?
  • What are your financial goals for the time once your child is born?

After you have set up your financial framework for yourselves as well, it is now time to learn about the financial costs of having a baby and possible challenges ahead so you can figure out your game plan to win.

Step 2 - Determine your budget required for the costs of having a baby

When we did our research on the costs of having a baby, these are the 3 key questions we focused on answering:

  • What are the costs that should be considered when having a baby?
  • What hidden costs can come up when having a baby?
  • What can we do to make having a baby in the U.S. more affordable?

Yes, having a baby in the U.S. can be quite expensive. But as you will learn, the costs will vary based on the state you live in, your personal preferences and circumstances. The time you invest into gaining clarity on how much having a baby will cost you, could save you from spending thousands of dollars and having to go through experiencing tremendous stress.

Let's begin learning about what to budget for.

Health Insurance 101

If you are just starting out on learning about the vocabulary and the differences between health insurance options, offers a helpful place to start learning about the health insurance basics.

Budget for the costs of pregnancy

In general, as Lamaze Internationals mentions, the costs a couple should consider during pregnancy are:[1]

  • Medical care
  • Maternity clothing
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • Baby Gear/Prep
  • Time Off

Optional Costs

  • Childbirth Classes
  • Babymoon trip
  • Exercise classes
  • Doula

Delivery Costs

  • Birthing costs

Medical Care during pregnancy

Medical care may be your highest expense during pregnancy - especially, if you don’t have health insurance.

If you do have health insurance, depending on what your insurance policy covers will determine how much your pregnancy will cost you.

For medical care during pregnancy, the costs that you should expect as Lamaze International states, include:

  • Prenatal Visits
  • Ultrasounds
  • Lab work, Tests and Screens
  • Any special care needed
Prenatal Visits during pregnancy

Women who are pregnant will have a range of 7 to 12 prenatal visits during pregnancy.

During a prenatal visit your doctor will check your health and the health of your baby.

Basic procedures to expect during your prenatal exam are:

  • Urine test
  • Blood pressure
  • Weight
  • Fetal heart rate
  • Checking the abdomen
  • Feeling for baby’s position
Costs of prenatal visits during pregnancy

If You Have health insurance

The Affordable Care Act passed in 2014 requires all qualified health insurance plans to cover all routine prenatal care with no cost-sharing, meaning no out-of-pocket costs for you even if you haven't paid your deductible yet.[2]

If You Have Any Complications During Your Pregnancy Or Require additional Prenatal visits

That is not part of your prenatal routine. You may start having some out-of-pocket costs. Whether that be copays or coinsurance or paying full costs up to your deductible - costs of you’re pregnancy could start adding up at this point.

If you do not have health insurance

You must pay the entire cost of your prenatal visits - $90 to $500 per prenatal visit.[3]

Ultrasounds during pregnancy

The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center states that women with a healthy pregnancy will generally receive only 2 ultrasounds during pregnancy, regardless where in the states they live.

In that case you will receive one ultrasound during the first trimester which will confirm the due date of the baby, and the second ultrasound at about 18-22 weeks into your pregnancy. This one will “confirm normal anatomy and the sex of the baby” as Monica Mendiola, MD, a practicing Physician in women´s health states on[4]

Costs of ultrasounds during pregnancy

If You Have health insurance

The Affordable Care Act requires a standard of 2 ultrasounds as part of your routine prenatal care to be covered by all qualified health insurance plans with no cost-sharing (no co-pays and co-insurance) even if you haven't paid your deductible yet.[5]

If You Have Any Complications During Your Pregnancy Or Require Additional ultrasounds

Based on your insurance policy, you may have some out-of-pocket costs.

if you do not have health insurance

An ultrasound will cost around $200 to $300.[6]

Lab work, Tests and Screens during pregnancy

Below we have listed common tests you may experience during each trimester according to[7]

  • First trimester

  • Second Trimester

  • Third Trimester

Possible tests during the first trimester
  • Ultrasound
  • Usually done early into the pregnancy or around 11-14 weeks
  • Blood tests
  • Rh factor
  • Anemia
  • Hepatitis B, Syphilis, and HIV
  • Immunity to measles and chickenpox
  • Cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
  • This test is usually done around week 10 and will tell you if your baby has a chromosomal disorder

We mention this list not to scare you off, but more as a way to raise awareness and emphasize how important it is to do your research with regards to prenatal costs beforehand.

Depending on many factors such as your age, health, family history and more you may receive more or less testing.

The question of how much your out-of-pocket costs are can only be answered in relation to whether or not you have a health insurance plan and what is considered routine or beyond routine (“diagnostic”) by your health insurance policy.[8]

Costs of Lab work, Tests and Screens during pregnancy

If You Have health insurance

If you feel perfectly fine during your pregnancy - without any complications - depending on your health plan, you may not have to pay anything for lab work, tests and screens.

If You Have Any Complications During Your Pregnancy Or Require Additional Testing

Based on your insurance policy, you may have some out-of-pocket costs.

if you do not have health insurance

Now is a great time to check if you can get into a health insurance plan. Depending on how much and which specific testing you will need during your pregnancy, this could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.[9]

Any special care needed during pregnancy

As mentioned above any testing, or procedure that goes beyond your routine prenatal visit may require some out-of-pocket costs.

These extra tests will be billed separately to your insurance and you may be required to pay a certain amount based on your insurance policy.

However, there are some additional tests that your insurance will cover.

Costs of special care during pregnancy

If You Have health insurance

According to, the healthcare law requires certain screening tests for pregnant women to be covered by their insurance at no additional cost to you.[10

As states these tests include but are not limited to:

  • Anemia screening
  • Bacteriuria urinary tract or other infection screening
  • Rh Incompatibility screening, and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
  • Hepatitis B screening, at your first prenatal visit
  • Gestational diabetes screening, when you’re 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, or at other times, if you are at high risk of developing this condition
  • Syphilis screening

If You Have Any Complications During Your Pregnancy Or Require Additional Testing

Based on your insurance policy, you may have some out-of-pocket costs.

if you do not have health insurance

These extra services could cost you upwards of $100 for each test.

Your Action Step: Gain clarity on what your health insurance plan covers during pregnancy 

If you have health insurance, based on your insurance policy the costs of routine prenatal care during pregnancy could be totally free for you.

If you are not sure on what your insurance policy will cover in regards to pregnancy costs and you want to avoid surprise medical bills in your mailbox, we have listed the following helpful questions that suggests to consider asking your health insurance provider:[11]

  1. 1
    During my pregnancy, are my prenatal visits covered under my policy?
  2. 2
    To go see an OB-GYN or other specialists I may require, do I need a referral from my primary doctor?
  3. 3
    For any prenatal care, do I need pre-authorization?
  4. 4
    What exact prenatal tests are covered under my policy (ultrasounds, genetic testing, amniocentesis, etc.)?
  5. 5
    Are there any common prenatal needs that are not covered by my policy?

Download your free guide to gain clarity faster!

This free guide will provide you with 2 things.

  1. 1
    Worksheet with all the important steps you should be taking, including all the questions you will want to ask.
  2. 2
    Worksheet to enter and automate your calculation as you read along

Download this free package if you want to make this process faster, easier and more fun!

Maternity Clothing

Costs of Maternity Clothing

By the time of birth we will likely have spent around $300 to $500 on maternity clothing during pregnancy - shopping for quality, but nothing too fancy.

That’s an estimate of an additional $30 - $60 a month to add to your budget plan during pregnancy.

Your Action Step: Budget for Maternity Clothing

Depending on whether or not you plan to be wearing used maternity clothes from friends and family, or will purchase deals at thrift shops or decide to buy new clothing - you can budget anywhere from $0 to $60 per month.

6 Ways you may be able to save money on maternity clothing:

  • Checking your local thrift shop
  • Garage sales
  • Borrow any maternity clothes from friends or family
  • Be patient
  • You do not have to go out and buy maternity clothes as soon as you find out you're pregnant. Most often, the first 12 weeks you will be fine using a rubber band or maternity waistband extenders for your jeans - without having to purchase additional maternity clothing.
  • Check clearance racks at the maternity sections in stores
  • Take advantage of coupons and sales

Prenatal Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are not considered a must, but are said to support having a healthy pregnancy – which is why it is another cost that we have listed to also consider in your budgeting plan.

Costs of Prenatal Vitamins

On average prenatal vitamins can cost you anywhere from $15 – 30 per month if you were to buy them over the counter.

Depending on your health insurance your prenatal vitamins could cost you little to nothing at all – you may just be subject to a copay.

According to the ´Women, Infants and Children Nutrition Program of Minnesota´ the best way to pay for prenatal vitamins is to ask your health care provider for a prescription.[12]

Your Action Step: Budget for Prenatal Vitamins

Depending on whether or not you plan to be taking prenatal vitamins and if your health insurance covers the costs - you can budget anywhere from $0 to $30 per month.

Baby Gear and Essentials

When it comes to prepping for your baby’s arrival, without a list, it’s difficult to grasp the amount of stuff your tiny little human will need and how much that will cost.

From decorating the nursery, to buying all the must-have-essentials - the price that comes with having a baby certainly starts to add up at this point.

This can be quite overwhelming, especially for a first-time parent - not knowing what exactly is necessary.

And, it's no question that your little baby will be worth every penny.

To get an idea, we have listed some of the basic essentials - MUST HAVES - you will need to plan for the first 12 months:

  • Nursery furniture
  • Such as
  • Crib
  • Crib mattress
  • Crib sheets
  • Changing table
  • Dressers
  • Rocking chair
  • Baby monitor / night light
  • Nursing pillow
  • Clothing
  • Bodysuits / Sleepers / Sleep sacks
  • T-Shirts / Knit sweaters / Caps
  • Long pants
  • Gowns
  • Socks / Booties
  • Diapers / wipes / diaper rash cream / portable changing pad
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby bathtub
  • Infant first aid kit (fe. for stuffy nose)
  • Receiving blankets
  • Breast pump
  • Formula
  • Baby bottles / dish set / and burp cloths
  • Infant car seat
  • Stroller / Baby carrier
  • All safety gadgets for indoor (fe. outlet covers, toilet seat locks, etc.)
  • Bouncer chair
  • High chair
  • Sensory toys
Costs of Baby Gear and Essentials

According to our research below, as a first-time parent you can expect to spend around $850 to $7,700 on one-time purchases for baby gear and essentials.

This results in a necessary monthly budget of around $85 to $770 per month (at 10 months from conception to delivery) that you´ll want to be able to save to make the purchases for all the baby gear and essentials shortly before your baby arrives.

One-time purchases (1st year)

Price range


Nursery (crib, bedding, mattress, changing table, dresser, shelves, baskets, rocking chair, carpet) 

$250 - $3,000

Nursing pillow

$25 - $75

Diaper bag

$25 - $200

Baby bathtub

$20 - $70

Portable changing pad

$8 - $25

Infant first aid kit

$15 - $70

Receiving blankets

$7 - $30

Breast pump (*possibly free through health insurance plan)

$0 - $325

Baby bottles

$12 - $90

Baby dish set

$10 - $70

Burp cloth set

$7 - $25

Baby car seat

$70 - $390


$125 - $1,200

Baby carrier

$50 - $180

Portable baby bed

$20 - $120

Baby safety childproofing home (child safety gate, toilet locks, electric outlet locks, cabinet locks, table corner guards, stove know covers, strap locks for cabinets, drawers, door locks, child monitoring, smoke detector, swimming pool guard alarm)

$50 - $500

Bouncer chair

$25 - $200

High chair / booster seat

$30 - $400

Sensory toys, story books, etc.

$100 - $720


It's always a great idea to focus on the MUST-HAVE essentials (f.e. car seat) and wait on purchasing baby toys and baby gear like a high chair, baby bouncer, etc.. It will take quite a while until your little one has passed the newborn phase and is ready for such things.

Your Action Step: Budget for Baby Gear and Essentials

If you plan to purchase all new items on baby gear and essentials, plan to add between $85 to $770 per month that you will either want to have available or save up during pregnancy.

$0 / month

Check if your health insurance plan covers all prenatal care

$0 - $60 / month

Average monthly budget for maternity clothing

$0 - $30 / month

Average monthly budget for prenatal vitamins

$85 - $770 / month

Average monthly savings for baby gear and essentials

Key Takeaways on Budgeting for the Costs of Pregnancy

Considering your health insurance plan covers all standard procedures and you will go through pregnancy without complications you may want to plan your monthly budget during pregnancy within the shown ranges.

As a result you could plan to have a total of $85 to $860 per month available for expenses during pregnancy and savings for baby gear and essentials once your baby arrives.

Birthing classes are often covered by health insurance plans. If not, plan to spend around $50 to $200 for your one-time purchase in the 3rd trimester.[13]

Baby CPR classes are offered online at a one-time price of $35.[14]

Let's move on to the next big cost factor of having a baby that you will want to consider and plan for - the costs of delivering your baby.

Budget for the costs of delivery

According to a study published in January 2020, researchers looked at 657,061 American women who had health insurance. Turns out that the average labor and delivery costs for having a baby in the US are now more than 4,500 dollars out-of-pocket, even with insurance.[15]


If you´re interested in learning more about the average costs of delivering a baby in your state, FAIR Health provided businessinsider with further information.[16]

If you don’t have health insurance, again just like for prenatal care, the price for delivering a baby comes with a high price tag.

During our research we have found that the numbers vary widely. As you will see, it will be best to always determine the costs for your own individual situation and circumstances. Below you will learn more about what to ask your health insurance provider to help you find that out.


When you're trying to figure out how much your costs of delivering a baby will be, it cannot be emphasized enough how much your health plan and location matter.

Costs of delivery

If you want a quick rough estimate to calculate with, plan to save an additional $450 per month during pregnancy (10 months from conception to delivery). At average out-of-pocket delivery costs that could help you prepare for a majority of the costs of delivering your child. Keep in mind that this amount is an average amount based on having health insurance and a vaginal delivery without any complications.

Including the previous calculations, on average, that makes a total of $535 to $1,310 per month (costs of pregnancy including delivery) that you should be putting to the side during the 10 months of pregnancy so you can also cover the costs of delivery.

Your Action Step: Gain Clarity On What Delivery Costs Are Covered By Your Health Insurance Policy

If you are not sure on what your insurance policy covers and you want to avoid surprise medical bills in your mailbox, suggests to consider contacting your health insurance provider and ask the following questions:[17]

  1. 1
    If for some reason I need a C-Section, is this covered with my current health insurance plan?
  2. 2
    Are there any common labor and delivery needs that are not covered by my policy?
  3. 3
    In my area, which hospitals are in my insurance policy’s network?
  4. 4
    To ensure that my newborn is covered from the moment of delivery, what do I have to do by when?
  5. 5
    After delivery, how long of a hospital stay is covered under my policy?
  6. 6
    Will my policy cover a private room or suite or will I have to share a room?
  7. 7
    If a home birth with a midwife, water birth or other nontraditional deliveries are more for you, ask your insurance about coverage for these.

Here are 3 additional tips to help you get a more detailed estimate on how much it will cost you to deliver a baby:

  • When you're calling your health insurance provider to let them know that you are planning to have a baby, ask which plan will be more beneficial to your new situation. This could result in you now having a lower deductible and higher amount that will be covered.
  • Your health plan may require you to meet your deductible for the year before your childbirth expenses are paid for.[18] Get clear on how much your deductible, your coinsurance and copay on your health plan are for prenatal care, delivery, hospital stay, tests, and postpartum care are. This will help you plan your estimate on your out-of-pocket costs for labor and delivery.
  • You can also take a copy of your health insurance plan to your doctor to give you an estimate on all pre-labor and delivery charges. The office assistant should be able to give a detailed estimate based on your health plan coverage.

$450 / month

If you want to calculate with average costs, plan to save around $450 per month during 10 months of pregnancy to cover the average costs of $4,500 for a vaginal delivery without complications.

Key Takeaways on Budgeting for the Costs of Delivery

As the numbers on the costs to deliver a baby do vary widely, it will be best to determine the costs of delivery within your health plan and location by contacting your health insurance provider.

Now that we´ve covered budgeting for pregnancy and the delivery of a baby in the U.S. it is time to move on to the time after birth that you will also want to plan for so you can feel more at ease and prepared if you do decide to have a baby.

Budget for the time after birth

The US Department of Agriculture estimated in 2015 that a middle-income family with two children would spend around $ 12,900 per year, per child.[19]

That makes $1,075 per month per child - again, the amount you will spend each month will depend on your own individual circumstances, location and preferences.

The 3 most underestimated recurring costs to consider in your monthly budget when your baby arrives

1 - Diapers

It is a great idea for you and your partner to talk about the costs of diapers for your baby ahead of time and how that will affect your wallet. You could be losing an opportunity to save a substantial amount of money... estimates that a baby can go through about 3,000 disposable diapers in the first year alone.[20] Children will need less diaper changes throughout the 2nd and 3rd year. Therefore, we are estimating an average use of 5,500 to 6,500 disposable diapers until a child is potty trained.

At costs ranging from $0.13 to $0.36 per disposable diaper (as seen online in October 2020) the total cost of diapers alone average around $735 for the first year.

Average monthly costs of baby diapers

For disposable diapers this results in an average cost of $60 per month per child that should be added into your monthly budget for the first year.

Now you may be thinking, what about the baby wipes?!

Yes, we also must add the wipes as well. 

Average monthly cost of baby wipes

Let's assume using an average of 4 baby wipes (1 for number 1 and up to 10 for number 2) per diaper, on average we´ll have used 12,000 in the first year and a total of around 22,000 to 26,000 wipes until a child is potty trained.

If you purchase in bulk the price per baby wipe can be as low as $0.02 all the way up to $0.10 per wipe when purchasing packs with lower quantity such as a 64-count baby wipe pack.[21]

This means, if we shop with less awareness of the cost per wipe, we can wind up paying up to $1,200 in total for the first year instead of around $240 total if we would have planned ahead. The average total cost for baby wipes will be around $720 for the first year (at $0.06 average cost per wipe).

For baby wipes this results in an additional $20 to $100 per month per child that should be added into your monthly budget for the first year. If you want to calculate with a buffer you can apply the average of $60 per month.

Your Action Step: Budget for Diapers and Baby Wipes

For the total costs on the use of disposable diapers and baby wipes you can calculate with $80 to $160 per month or apply the average total of $120 per month.

If you´re looking to make having a baby more affordable:

An opportunity to save money may be having a look into using cloth diapers. If you can get over the reluctance to use cloth diapers, you can save a substantial amount of money, in comparison to using disposable diapers - from what we can tell by our research - most often you can save up to half the costs on diapers. estimates costs between $244 to $1,100 in the first year of a baby´s life to use cloth diapers - on average $664.[22]

Things to think about when looking to use cloth diapers:

  • Cloth diapers allow you to save about half the amount of money you would be spending when using disposable diapers. When you have your second and third child is when the money saving effect really kicks in, as you will simply be able to re-use the cloth diaper set you purchased for your first child.
  • As it may be your first child you´re planning for, as it was for us too - we were looking for ways to make having our baby more affordable, but not at all costs. Imagine having your first newborn, one parent going to work, you´re by yourself and everything is new and unfamiliar to you. Routines have not been established yet. Nurturing, breastfeeding, and understanding what your baby is communicating - is still pretty much a guessing game at this point… and all you want, is having the time to focus on your baby without worries - you may not want to have to handle the additional cleaning process of cloth diapers as well…

As we do value the option of using cloth diapers from an environmental and money-saving aspect, we decided to go with disposable diapers in the beginning - at least for the first 3 months. 

2 - Baby Formula

If you choose not to or cannot breastfeed, baby formula will become a significant factor to add in to your future monthly budget for the first 12 months.

On the low end your baby will consume around 25 ounces per on average in the first year. With prices ranging from $0.09 to $0.32 per ounce, Baby Formula can cost around $68 to $240 dollars per month with a total ranging from $821.25 to $2,920 for your baby's first year.[23]

This is a similar amount to what states parents should expect to spend for baby formula in the U.S.. Their estimate ranges between $1,200 and $2,000 if you´re exclusively feeding formula during your baby's first year. Baby formulas with lactose will range at the higher end as lactose is a carbohydrate source that is also found in breastmilk.[24]

Your expenses on the lower or higher end will depend on your choice of brands and type of formula preparation:[25]

  • ready-to-feed formula (most expensive)
  • liquid concentrate (mid-price range)
  • powder (lower price range)

Your Action Step: Time after Birth - Budget for Baby Formula

For baby formula this results in an estimate of roughly $70 to $245 per month per child to be added into your monthly budget for the first year if you´re unable to breastfeed. Remember, the amount you will be paying depends on your preferences and choice of quality of baby formula.

Here are 8 steps on how you could save on baby formula when looking to make having a baby more affordable:

  1. 1
    Learn about what nutrients a baby needs.
  2. 2
    Learn about the various types of baby formula.
  3. 3
    Find out what sacrifices you are willing to make in relation to cost and quality of formula.
  4. 4
    Learn about the necessary quantity of formula needed in first year.
  5. 5
    Check comparison on price and quality of the type of formula you chose.
  6. 6
    Calculate how much the purchase of a bulk order would cost.
  7. 7
    Remember to test before purchase! When the baby arrives start small to see what your little one prefers.
  8. 8
    Purchase your baby´s favorite formula in bulk.
3 - Baby Clothing

Even though we can all imagine that it is easily possible to spend over $60 on one single purchase in a store when shopping for baby outfits, we want to have some sort of number we can calculate with to figure out how much our monthly budget should be once the baby is born. 

Average monthly cost of baby clothing estimates that the average budget for baby clothes in the first year will be around $60 per month.[26] states the average spend to be around $15 to $50 per month.[27] The lower end will be related to making purchases of used clothing.

Your Action Step: Time after Birth - Budget for Baby Clothing

When the time comes you may find yourself experiencing the urge to go all out on shopping for baby clothing - we get it, it´s so freakin´ cute!!! It´s even possible to spend $60 or more on one single item... but if you´re planning to budget, calculating with $15 to $60 per month can be a helpful range to start. 

Budgeting for the costs of Health Insurance coverage for a newborn baby

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 7 visits to the doctor's office in the first year. [28]

Determining the necessary additional monthly budget for your baby's health insurance in the U.S. can be a tricky one.

In general, according to, on average parents that have a private health insurance plan can expect to pay an additional $35 to $65 monthly to the current premium of their plan.[29]

At we found information that will help you figure out your individual monthly budget on health insurance for a newborn. We have listed the main options below, for further details you can read their post.[30]

Your Action Step: Determine how much health insurance for a newborn will cost you

  • Whatever option you are receiving health insurance coverage through - contact your employer or insurer to ask whether adding your newborn to your plan will affect your premium and how much it will be. 
  • Check on the exact process your employer or health insurance provider has for adding dependents to your health insurance plan.

4 options to determine the monthly costs of health insurance for a newborn:

  • Check out your current coverage and review both your and your partner´s health insurance plan options. Have a look into this before the birth of your child. How to add your newborn will depend on the policy of your plan.
  • If you have coverage through your employer
    Check if you will be able to add your baby to your plan, if you are receiving your health care coverage through your employer.
  • If you have coverage that you purchased yourselves through one of the following options you will be able to add your baby to your plan:
  • through the health insurance exchange
  • directly from insurer in an ACA-compliant market
  • If your household income is lower than $45,000 per year
    You or your newborn may qualify for Medicaid or CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program). According to this could result in your monthly cost being under $50 for the entire family instead of paying $500 to $1,000. For more details continue reading here.[31]

Keep in mind that Medicare does not cover dependents.[32] This means if you and/or your partner have Medicare, your little one cannot be added to that plan - he or she will need their own coverage instead.

What if adding your child to your health plan is too expensive?

If you don't have the option to add your child to your plan or it seems too expensive offers helpful information on how to get individual health insurance for your child.[33]

Budget for time off after birth Of Your Baby

Maternity leave is definitely something you will want to discuss with each other when planning the monthly budget you will need to have available once your baby arrives.

Besides, who doesn´t want to bond with their newly arrived baby?!

More than likely you will want to take time off from work after the birth of your newborn to take care of your baby and recover.

Luckily due to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the United States employees are allowed up to 12 weeks in a 12 month period to take leave to care for a newborn as long as they have worked for the company at least 12 months or have put in at least 1,250 hours during the past 12 months.

When attempting to plan for time off after the birth of a child we also need to keep in mind that the FMLA is designed to allow employees to take unpaid leave to take care of family or medical issues.

The FMLA applies to companies with 50 or more employees.[34]

Paid Maternity Leave

According to a 2018 Mercer survey, only 41% of employers in the United states offer paid maternity leave for their employees.[35]

Paid State Family Leave

California, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island are only a few states in the USA that offer paid leave.

If you live in any of the states mentioned above you may be eligible for state leave benefits, meaning up to 4 weeks (Rhode Island) to 10 weeks (New Jersey) of paid leave.

In California for example, according to a Congressional Research Service Report, benefits are paid weekly and maximum pay out is $1,252 per week, depending on your pay – about 60% - 70 % of your pay.[36

Your Action Step: Plan for time off after the birth of your baby

Contact your employer to learn about maternity leave regulations within the company and if you will be receiving income during your time off. 

Also, check if the state you live in offers paid family leave.

3 optional costs you may want to Consider once your baby arrives

Depending on the musts/needs/wants you have set as terms and conditions for yourselves at the beginning of this guide, you may want to add recurring monthly costs to your budget for the following options.

Day Care

Even though researching all kinds of baby stuff and baby names can be fun and exciting, you will also want to figure out what you will do with your baby once you go back to work - and how much that will cost you - ahead of time.

We know, no one wants to really look into this topic… who really wants to leave their newborn child with a stranger…

But let's face it, if we can't change it, we better gain clarity on this topic as soon as possible as the options available and the costs do vary widely.

Here are some helpful questions you will want to ask yourselves to find your solution:

  • Can you work from home? 
  • Do you and your partner work shifts?
  • How many hours do you work a day?
  • At what time of the day would you need a care option for your child?
  • How many hours and how often a week would you need support?
  • Would you prefer an in-home option? Will you want to make the trips dropping off and picking up your baby or toddler somewhere else?
Average Monthly Costs of the 4 Most Common Day Care Options
Day Care Option 1 - Nanny

This is the most expensive option.

A nanny is an in-home child care provider with a variety of responsibilities. Their responsibilities can range from bathing and dressing, changing diapers, potty training to washing clothes, prepping meals and feeding and supporting with educational activities.[37]

Nanny´s are committed to helping your child grow, learn and feel safe.[38]

When hiring a nanny you will have different options to choose from:

  • full-time
  • part-time
  • live-in
  • live-out

According to a full-time live-out nanny is usually paid per hour for 40 hours a week. Based on national averages from, depending on their education and experience the hour rate will average around $14 in the U.S..[39]

Monthly Costs Of Hiring A Full-Time Nanny

This means at an average of roughly $560 per week (40hrs/week) you will have to plan for spending $2,240 per month to hire a full-time, live-out nanny.

Keep in mind - believe it or not - there most likely will be additional costs such as yearly pay raises, paying “nanny taxes”, annual bonuses, food costs, insurance, reimbursements for gas, etc..

Day Care Option 2 - Nanny Share

This option allows you to enjoy a lot of the nanny benefits without the nanny price tag. You and another family share one nanny for your and their children - you split the costs. Before choosing this option check for any restrictions in your state.

According to the ´ 2020 Cost of Care survey´, when choosing nanny sharing you will pay around 2/3 of the national average.[40]

Monthly Costs Of Hiring For Nanny Sharing

This means, with 2/3 of the national average of $2,260 per month you will have to pay around $1,508 per month for nanny sharing.

Day Care Option 3 - Day Care Center

This is the most popular choice for many working parents. Day care centers are said to be reliable as most are licensed by the state to follow strict rules and regulations, and some offer longer or flexible hours.

Monthly Costs Of Day Care Center

When choosing to have your child taken care of in a day care center in the U.S. your average necessary monthly budget will be around $990 per month for an infant and $847 for a toddler.[41]

Day Care Option 4 - Babysitter

This is also a very common option for parents.

Babysitters can be a solution for parents that need temporary support on an hourly basis. They usually have basic child training experience, CPR and first aid certification. The line of duty a babysitter covers in comparison to a nanny will often be less. Their hourly rate can be higher than the rate you would pay for a nanny as they are often flexible in their time and paid by the hour.

Monthly Costs Of Hiring A Babysitter

At a weekly rate of $243 at 15hrs per week you will have to add around $972 to your monthly necessary budget for a babysitter.[42]

Your Action Step: Determine monthly budget for day care in your area

Life Insurance

If you´re like us you may have never thought of getting life insurance before... But once you realize there is a living being on its way that you are responsible for, the thought of financial security if anything happened to one of you, becomes very real.

Monthly Costs Of Life Insurance

For that case, if you will want to have some sort of financial protection for your family, according to you´ll pay around $33 per month on average in the U.S.. This will provide you with a 20-year term life insurance policy and death benefit of $500,000.[43]

Your individual monthly rate will be based on your age, health status, whether you smoke or not and various other factors.[44]

Your Action Step: Determine monthly budget for life insurance

Visit to figure out how much you will want to budget to pay for life insurance for you and your partner.

Education Fund

Perhaps you still have income left after all the budgeting that you may want to invest on behalf of your baby - if you happen to choose wanting to become a parent. Depending on what you will be saving for (529 plan, Coverdell ESA, S&P 500 index fund, etc.) there are various options for you to choose from to put your money to work for your child. 


On the topic of investing on behalf of a newborn child two financial planners with expertise in family finances were interviewed by Robin Taub and Matt Becker suggest to first take care of planning and investing for your own future, paying off debt and saving for retirement. The whole idea of investing for your children is that you want to help them later on. But when you think of the biggest financial gift that you can actually give your children - that is, not moving in with them when you're retired. So taking care of yourself first may be a wiser option.[45]

Your Action Step: Determine your monthly budget for an education fund

Add whatever amount to your future monthly budget you feel will be right for you.

Depending on your financial framework that you set up at the beginning of this guide, the amount you will be spending on a monthly basis after the birth of a child will vary based on your personal preferences.

Here´s is an example of what we plan to be spending per month after the birth of our first child:

Diapers and Wipes

$120/month (we plan to make bulk purchases ahead of time)

Baby Formula

$100/month (as a possible supplement to breastfeeding)

Baby Clothing/Gear/Toys


Baby Hygiene

$30/month (very generous, including soaps, creams, etc.)

Health Insurance


Time off

One of us will stay at home with the baby

Day Care


Life Insurance

$100/month (for the both of us)

Education fund


This leads us to a total of $500 per month we plan on spending after the birth of our baby.

In our case, overall we will have less money available as a single income household by deciding that one of us will stay at home. We are also able to experience many benefits because of that decision. These benefits include having the freedom of one of us always being with our child. No costs for daycare. Another great bonus is being able to add our child to our family health insurance for free where we live. Not to mention having a budget available for life insurance for the both of us and being able to create an education fund for our little one. 

We were able to create our budgeting plan based on our financial framework we set up at the beginning. This process allowed us to gain the financial certainty and clarity we were seeking to decide whether or not it was the right time for us - and we decided it was!

At the time of creating this guide our little one is already on his way!

Less than $1,075 / month

If you´re willing to plan in advance, you can save a substantial amount of money each month to make having a child more affordable.

Key Takeaways on Budgeting for the after birth

It is possible to stay below the monthly average of $1,075 per child as estimated by the US Department of Agriculture. 

At this point you should have a pretty accurate plan of what costs you want to prepare for if you decide to have a baby.

  • Your Monthly Budget for the Costs of Pregnancy
  • Your Monthly Budget for the Costs of Giving Birth (which you add to the monthly budget for pregnancy)
  • Your Monthly Budget for the Time after Birth

Now it's your turn! You can download the calculation cheat sheet here!

But hold on - that's not all!

After all this budgeting we found that there was still a voice in the back of our heads going: What if…?! Are you sure you got everything? Are we missing or forgetting anything?

Having clarity on how to prepare for any bills that we hadn't expected or planned for, and possibly couldn't pay - seemed like the next best step to create even more certainty.

What hidden costs can come up when having a baby?

Surprise medical billing by accidentally using an out-of-network doctor

As states, this can happen when you go to a hospital in your provider network where an out-of-network doctor is practicing. 

Some states in the U.S. protect against surprise medical billing. Unfortunately, currently most states do not protect patients from non-network charges.[46] Therefore, it is important to get informed what your health insurance provider will cover.


The website can possibly help you shop for medical services that are covered by your insurance policy.

Your Action Step: Prepare so you can avoid surprise medical billing

  • Check your health insurance policy to know if they will cover such out-of-network charges. Some insurances will pay partially, some will pay no charges.
  • Check your policy to understand what costs are included in the network and how costs like tests or exams are covered.
  • Use the provider-directories of your health insurance to locate in-network providers.
  • Get informed on how your provider network works and what to do if you do happen to receive a surprise bill.
  • Key step: When scheduling an appointment, call your health insurance company to make sure to clarify whether or not any doctor or clinic you visit participates in the provider network. Also call the office of the doctor or clinic you will be seeing. Get the confirmation that every provider you may have to visit at the facility is participating in your health insurance plan.[47]

What could you do if you do receive a surprise bill?

  • You can examine the bill and contact the clinic to reassure that there were no mistakes made. Unfortunately, this does happen.
  • Check your state´s surprise medical billing law. If you are protected, you can call your provider and health insurance and ask them to resolve the issue.
  • If you´re not protected, you can figure out which of the costs were out-of-network. With that information you can call the provider and kindly ask if they will lower or set aside the cost.
  • If nothing works you can try involving your doctor to help work out a solution.[48]

At this point we have reached the end of step 2 on budgeting for the costs of having a baby. Now it´s time to have a look at the options that are available to make having a baby in the U.S. more affordable.

What can you do to make having a baby in the U.S. more affordable?

Budget proactively

Start putting money to the side on a monthly basis before your little one arrives, at least 6 months before your little one arrives. The idea is to already create the habit of budgeting and have enough money saved to cover any deductible, your coinsurance share or any other unexpected charges.

Adjust your lifestyle in advance

Decide on how you can lower your cost of living and spending habits. Your expenses will rise after your baby is born. So it's a good idea to start making lifestyle changes now. In addition, that may help you save some extra dollars.

  • If one of you plans to stay at home, you can start budgeting and test living off of one income to experience how that will work out for you.
  • Perhaps moving to an area where the costs of living are lower or a budget-billing plan from your utility company may be an option for you.

Gain clarity about your health insurance policy

Contact your health care insurance company to find out exactly what all is and is not covered. As we have listed above, has a great list of questions to ask during your call. Have your policy number ready and write down the date and name of who you spoke with.

Invest the time to get the information you need. The more you are willing to research now, the less likely you will receive bills in the mail that you are not prepared for. As states, you want to especially focus on learning about two key areas:[49]

  • Out-of-pocket costs and
  • Checking if all of your doctors are in your provider network

Gain clarity on which hospitals in your area are in your insurance policy's network

Your health insurance plan may cover the costs of delivery, but maybe not at the hospital you want to deliver at. Check with your health insurance company and call the hospital's billing office to have an estimate of total costs for childbirth with your chosen hospital as prices can vary quite a bit.

Do this even if you´re just comparing local hospitals.

As states, a group of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that the cost of a vaginal birth without complications can range from $ 3,296 to $ 37,227.

The difference for Cesarean sections was even greater, with a range from $ 8,312 to around $ 71,000.[50]

Know what costs may be included in your hospital bills

Ruth Soukup at suggests the following list of questions to also consider as well when your comparing the prices of hospitals:[51]

  • How long will you have to stay at the hospital? (without complications)
  • Will your meals be included in the price? (what about your husband´s?)
  • Will diapers, pads and pain medication be charged extra?
  • Will your child´s newborn screenings be included in the price?
  • When will you receive the bill after your baby is born?

Contact your OB-GYN ahead of time

Ask your OB-GYN if he or she will be using global billing.

Depending on the time of year you will be having your child, you may have to pay two deductibles for the current and next calendar year. 

With global billing you´ll have a packaged charge that can include all prenatal charges as well as the costs of giving birth.[52]

Decide on who will care for your baby after giving birth

Will one of you be able to stay home from work or will you have to hire day care? Can you work from home? If you´re hiring an in-home caregiver could you team up with other families to cut the costs? Do you live close to family members that would be willing to provide child care?

9 additional ways to prepare and lower costs of having a baby in the U.S.

  1. 1
    If you don't have health insurance or good insurance coverage you can seek help ahead of time. You could also call and ask your hospital about discounts or payment plans. In that case, always ask for all details on how that works and write them down.
  2. 2
    If you have health insurance, find out how much your premium will be to add another dependent to your health plan once your little one is born.
  3. 3
    Check with your employer and ask about the workplace policies to find out how much of maternity and paid leave you will have available ahead of time.
  4. 4
    As expenses can add up, focus on paying off debt or to get it to a manageable level if you have any.
  5. 5
    Research how much you can save on the difference in the cost of diapers or cloth diapers as well as baby food from the store and home-made baby food.
  6. 6
    Borrow as much as you can from family and friends. Your baby will grow out of everything quite quickly.
  7. 7
    Figure out what you could and would be willing to shop for second hand, for example on
  8. 8
    You can also seek discounts at
  9. 9
    Set up a registry during pregnancy and throw a baby shower. 

Summarizing step 2 on budgeting for the costs of having a baby, there is probably no set dollar amount that will tell you when you're ready to have a baby. But you can understand the costs of having a baby and define your own financial guidelines that you can base your decision on to feel more certain.

Doing your homework prior to getting the ball rolling and being aware of potential costs, as well as what to look out for, and now having plenty of ideas on how to prepare - you can be well on your way to making your life less stressful if you happen to have come to the decision that you are going to have a baby.

Step 3 - Answer The Big Question: Are You Ready To Have A Baby?

With this guide we hope you've found lots of ways on how you can make it happen and now have the confidence and clarity, resting assured that everything will be ok when you move on to trying to conceive your first child.

We must say, considering all costs above, were quite overwhelming and a shock for us at first. As a single-income household we realized that we had to make some sacrifices, if we wanted to create our own family anytime soon.

As we are currently living in Europe and have planned to move to the U.S. sometime in the future - having family here too and the way things are currently going with the pandemic, we are having our first child here.

We have found that managing and budgeting our money on a monthly basis has helped us to plan for our baby. Now, after calculating, thinking and talking this through together, we feel financially ready and more prepared to welcome a new little life into this world.

What is your final answer - can you afford to have a child - do you feel ready?

If you have only skimmed this guide so far, do yourselves the favor and work through the steps in this guide or download it to help you gain the clarity you need!

Take advantage of this guide to become clear on whether or not you are financially ready to have a baby now!

Become more certain about your financial situation so you can come to a clear decision that feels right to you - and if you happen to decide to have a child, you will be able to enjoy the entire process A WHOLE LOT MORE.

What´s next?

We hope you've learned what you need to know and are well on your way to conceiving and pregnancy.

Before you actually start trying to conceive your first child, you may want to apply these steps to drastically increase your chances of conception.

Please feel free to contact us at and provide any suggestions on how you feel we could add even more value with this guide.

We appreciate your feedback!

Wishing you all the best and hoping to hear from you and your little one(s) anytime soon…

This editorial content from is not written by a health insurance professional. This content is intended for informational purposes only. Do not consider this content as legal, financial or health insurance advice. Consult a professional to learn what is right for you.


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